Over the past 7 years I’ve read A LOT of articles about blogging, social media, and internet marketing. Many of the blogs that I followed a few years ago have, in my opinion, gone down hill in terms of the content that they publish. However, one blog that I continue to enjoy is Blog Tyrant. If you’re not familiar with Blog Tyrant it is the blog of Ramsay Taplin, where he covers a variety of topics that can help you to build a better blog.
Blog Tyrant stands out to me because the content is not only high quality, but it’s also useful and original. Ramsay doesn’t post extremely frequently, usually a few posts per month, but he makes every post count. If you’re a regular reader of Blog Tyrant you know that the comments section of each post is very active, and Ramsay is highly responsive to readers that take the time to comment on his posts.
I recently reached out to Ramsay to see if he would be willing to do an interview because I know he has a wealth of knowledge that can be helpful to anyone looking to build a successful blog. I hope you find this interview to be helpful, and if you are not already following Blog Tyrant please take a moment and check it out.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with Blog Tyrant?
When I was in university I used to skip tutorials and go and write blogs in the computer labs. After a year I sold one of my fitness blogs for around $20,000. That was how it all started for me. I dropped out of uni with one subject left and decided to build websites.
Blog Tyrant was actually intended to be a blogging marketplace where you could buy and sell websites, articles, hire people, etc. but the second article that I wrote hit the front page of Delicious and send over 11,000 visitors in the first week. And so I just kept going.
Do you currently have other blogs and websites that you run aside from Blog Tyrant?
Yeah I have a few but I don’t really enjoy them and so Blog Tyrant has become my main focus. I’m launching a sister site in the next few weeks – it’ll be an offshoot of Blog Tyrant that deals with a topic that gets discussed a lot over there. I’m hoping to grow the “Tyrant” brand over the next few years and branch off into other different but related niches.
It seems that networking has played an important role in Blog Tyrant’s growth, helping you to get posts published on influential blogs. How did you approach building your network and what was the key for you to be able to make valuable connections?
To be honest, networking is the most important thing in online business unless you are super smart and can figure it all out by yourself. Even if I didn’t get published on sites like Copyblogger and Smart Passive Income, just having an open line of communication with those guys has been hugely important for me.
For example, Glen from ViperChill asked me to be the only other author on his site. That was huge. But because of that friendship we now email almost every day and chat about SEO tactics, marketing and so on. When I was launching a small product last year he reviewed the whole landing page for me an gave so much advice. Neil Patel has also given me feedback on a plugin that I’m developing. If you were to hire these guys it would cost thousands of dollars but if you have a friendship you can kind of just bounce off each other.
The main tip I’d give in this area is to be genuine and generous. You aren’t going to make friends by just asking for help or shares all the time. Share their work, mention them on your own site and slowly make progress. Don’t just try to connect professionally – make friends.
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Your blog, and definitely the interaction in the comments section of your posts, shows that you have a very strong connection to your readers. Has it been easier for to connect with readers since you stopped blogging anonymously as “Blog Tyrant”?
I hate to admit it but I really think it has.
Back when I was anonymous the blog had caused quite a bit of buzz in the niche and was doing well, but it wasn’t until Pat Flynn stopped by the comments and told me that he thought the anonymity held me back that I started to question it.
Since I’ve added my face and name to the site I’ve absolutely made a lot more meaningful connections. Some of the readers on my site have become genuine friends and it just felt weird having them call me “Tyrant” or “BT” instead of my real name.
It’s also really important from a branding point of view – if I ever want to stop doing Blog Tyrant I will be able to use my personal name to launch other things. I couldn’t do that if I was still anonymous.
You don’t publish new posts at Blog Tyrant as frequently as some bloggers. How did you go about determining the ideal posting frequency?
I have absolutely no idea!
My traffic and stats go up when I post more often (like once a week) but my personal test has always just been “do I have anything useful to say?”. I don’t want to just pump out lame content for the sake of it, and I think the readers prefer one good article a fortnight to four or five ordinary ones.
I really think a lot of good blogs have kind of died out because they pump out masses of content that has no real identity to it. I’d prefer to produce stuff that helps people, even if it costs me a bit of short term traffic.
What are your favorite monetization methods for blogs?
Having a big keyword rank at the top of Google for an article that promotes an affiliate product is very nice. But it’s also quite dangerous. If those rankings change you can be in trouble.
My favorite method, therefore, is anything that sits at the back of a mailing list. I really like to focus on getting targeted subscribers to a niche mailing list and then building longterm trust and introducing affiliate products or your own products in a gentle and useful way.
It’s not for everyone, and it’s sometimes a lot slower, but it seems safer to me.
What would you say have been the keys to your success with blogging?
The main thing that people mention to me is that the brand is quite distinctive and people remember it. The couch in the forest, the domain name, it all kind of sits together to stand out from the crowd.
I have also always focused on writing really long articles that go into a lot of detail. Providing value at every step is super important but, again, unless you are standing out in some way it kind of just gets lost.
The other thing is that you should always be testing. Try new things and just assume you’re going to fail but keep trying anyway. That stuff gives you new ideas and new content to write about.
Over the years, what have you seen to be the factors that separate successful bloggers from those who never reach their blogging goals?
There are quite a few things, some of them might seem a bit harsh.
Firstly, I see so many bloggers start blogs without any real angle or experience. There is nothing to set them apart from the rest. It’s so important to have some sort of plan and figure out a way to share your knowledge (if you have it…) with people in a unique way.
Secondly, you have to fail a lot. Blog Tyrant has been a wonderful success but I’ve also had about 20-30 other smaller niche sites that have done absolutely nothing. Blogging is like any small business – the first year you rarely make a profit and it grows slowly after that.
Lastly, bloggers seem to really hate spending money on their blog. This is a huge mistake – especially when it comes to promotion. Even a few dollars of Facebook advertising each week can make a big difference to your progress.
Thanks to Ramsay for taking the time to do this interview!
I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you want to connect with Ramsay you can find him using the links below: